Two polls out tonight. One clear message.

One by OpiniumResearch, fieldwork 24-26 July changes with respect to 5th July:

CON: 30% (+7)

LAB: 28% (+3)

LDEM: 16% (+1)

BREX: 15% (-7)

GRN: 5% (-3)

And one by DeltaPoll for the Mail on Sunday:

CON: 30 (+10)

LAB: 25 (-1)

LIB: 18 (+2)

BRX: 14 (-10)

CUK: 2 (-2)

The fearful symmetry of that +7, -7 and +10, -10 is burning bright in the tangled forests of polling data. I rejoice.

I do not rejoice for the Conservatives, or mourn for the Brexit party. When the Tories’ voters deserted them en masse for the Brexit Party just before the European Parliament elections I was happy for the same reason that I am happy now: those splendidly disloyal voters were sending the message “We voted to leave the European Union. Forget building high speed railways or cancelling them, or whatever other scheme you think matters, we want Brexit. And we will vote for whichever party has the best chance of getting it done.”

Edit: Good grief, there have now been four polls published tonight. They’re like No. 9 buses, you wait ages then four turn up at once. The two later polls did not give such dramatic rises for the Tories, but one of them, by ComRes, yet again followed the pattern of a rise for the Conservatives precisely mirrored by a fall for the Brexit Party. Only YouGov did not follow this pattern. It showed a rise for the Conservatives and a fall for the Brexit Party, all right, but they were not quite equal. I repeat: it is not the rise or fall of either party that interests me. What interests me is that this demonstrates there is a most un-blocky bloc of voters for whom Brexit is the key issue.

In recent weeks there has been a slew of comments from the Remain side that asked, with a pitying shake of the head, what would the poor shambling Leave voters actually do if Article 50 were revoked? Get out on the streets with their Zimmer frames and riot? (The search term riot Zimmer frame Brexit gets 51,600 results. Recycling is all very well, but someone needs to donate them a second joke.) Well, besides the route taken by one Brexit-supporting old girl who won’t see seventy again – become an MEP and make Greens cry – there is always the option of swing voting.

Updated: 28th July 2019 — 7:51 am


  1. I concur. Brexit Party is a means to an end. If the threat of what they will do makes Boris do what needs to be done, then it has done exactly what it was created to do. And if Boris doesn’t, then those numbers will change fast & once again, the Brexit Party will do exactly what it was created to do.

  2. Pollsters love percentages and swings (+7%, -7%). But this approach can obfuscate a very important element — which is the number of people who actually end up voting. In the US environment, we see millions of “contingent voters” — people who will vote for a Ronald Reagan or a Ross Perot, but choose to sit on their hands when offered the choice between a Democrat Tweedledum and a Republican Tweedledee. It would be surprising if there was not something similar in the UK.

    One of the interesting total vote comparisons is the 17 Million who voted Leave 3 years ago in the referendum versus the mere 6 Million who voted for the Brexit Party in the recent European elections, even though that 6 Million was enough to sweep the boards. One possible interpretation is that, while Brexit is an all-consuming issue to some, it is a minority interest overall.

    Which brings us back to the situation in the UK following separation from the EU. If there is no “Great Realignment” and simply a return to the old situation of Parliament being run by a reshuffled set of Conservative/Labour Oxbridge metropolitan BBC-approval-seeking Davoise, then the UK version of contingent voters may get very disappointed. And who can guess what the consequences of that would be?

  3. Just a heads-up, the last link goes to a WordPress admin login page.

  4. One possible interpretation is that, while Brexit is an all-consuming issue to some, it is a minority interest overall.

    Even as a hard BRExiteer who campaigned for Vote Leave in the EU Referendum of 2016, I freely acknowledge that BRExit (both Leave and Remain) is a very minority sport. The vast majority of the electorate remain somewhere between marginal support for one side or the other, to complete indifference.

    Other than as one of his many minions, my own personal vote was largely irrelevant to Dominic Cummings, since I was always going to vote “Leave”. Where every vote counts, he organised Vote Leave to win by targeting the campaign directly at the “Don’t knows” and disinterested voters.

    BRExit is not as polarising as the media, politicians and campaigners on both sides claim, simply because the vast majority don’t give a flying fig about it. Indeed many who voted for both Leave and Remain just want the bloody thing over and done with regardless of how that is achieved.

  5. Thanks for pointing that out, Passerby. Link now corrected.

  6. I think that there is another factor here where a large percentage of the population still want to believe politicians will actually do what they promise. Boris is promising to deliver Brexit so the polls will show he has support and people will transfer their votes to the person who is in power and potentially looks like he can deliver.

    OK, so Boris has made a good start with his speeches and making all the right noises. IF (and it is a VERY big and very qualified “IF”) he were the only person in Government AND he actually did what he said he would do, then the Conservative party (i.e. him) would be lead through the streets in a victory parade like a Caesar in Imperial Rome leading a triumphal procession.

    BUT …

    He is a Politician, not a Statesman (a politician thinks of the next election, a statesman of the next generation) so, as other political pundits have said, he needs to be pragmatic about things and tone down the rhetoric (i.e. renege on his promises) which he is likely to do. Getting power is the be all and end all of the matter.

    He is leader of the Conservatives and like it or not, the party still has a large percentage of leave and remain MP’s who will still fight each other like two ferrets in a sack. If he cannot command their loyalty and get them to vote as he wants, then he will be in the unenviable position of someone herding cats. Simply keeping that lot in hand will be a full time job, let alone carry out the normal functions of Government and/or progress Brexit.

    As I said in another comment, it is pointless shuffling the same hand of cards and expecting a winning hand, particularly if you have all of the jokers included in the hand. He can only work with the MP’s he has got at the moment. Which falls foul of the last point.

    There are Great White Sharks, Great White Elephants and even, at a pinch, Great White Hunters but I think that Great White Hopes are as dead as the Dodo. People still believe in them though and Boris looks to those hopefuls like a Great White Hope. I fear they will be disappointed …

  7. He is leader of the Conservatives and like it or not, the party still has a large percentage of leave and remain MP’s who will still fight each other like two ferrets in a sack. If he cannot command their loyalty and get them to vote as he wants, then he will be in the unenviable position of someone herding cats. Simply keeping that lot in hand will be a full time job, let alone carry out the normal functions of Government and/or progress Brexit.

    I agree, however there are two things in Boris’ favour right now. One is that Parliament is in recess at the present time and will be well into September, thus removing some aspect of the ‘cats fighting in a sack’ problem.

    Secondly, the legislation required to effect BRExit on 31st October is already in place, all that is needed is the political PR and will to be firmly focused on preventing any further extension being offered by the EU or being acceptable to the UK government.

    Boris’ hardline PR in this regard is totally necessary to attempt to dissuade the EU that by attempting to keep the BRExit plates spinning they might at some point get a revocation of Article 50 or an acceptance of the WA capitulation terms.

    Maybe if we can get the EU to recognise the fact that there is no point in ‘flogging a dead horse’, they can actually focus on at least the bare minimum terms required to not fuck themselves come October 31st, regardless of the impact on the post-BRExit UK.

    I am, however, not hopeful. The EU is guilty of believing its own propaganda (which is why the Euro continues to screw over Southern EU countries so badly), that I doubt the political behemoth can make any substantial change between now and October 31st.

    It will take nerves of steel for the UK to avoid seizing defeat from the very jaws of victory, but we’ve still got 90+ days for the political equivalent of “The Fuckening”.

    May EU intransigence to the UK remain forever fruitful.

  8. @John Galt – I fully agree with your last comment except for Parliament is in recess at the present time and will be well into September.

    I think that this is actually a dangerous position for him to be in. In the dog days of summer when there is nothing much to report in the papers except for the weather, the MP’s with plenty of time on their hands and away from Parliament and the whips can, and I suspect will be, making a continuous series of press releases touting their particular point of view. The background chorus of prophecies of doom and gloom, skies falling, snakes on planes and other predicted disasters will poison the atmosphere. They have nothing else to do except electioneer and stir up mischief, Parliament being closed and they do not have their normal activities to occupy their time.

    Unless Boris counters these press releases, they will stand and he will appear to, if not agree, then at least have no retort to the caterwauling. No response will be seen as as a sign of weakness and make him vulnerable to accusations of not being in control.

    If he DOES respond, then it will be seen that he is validating their arguments which will keep the pot on the boil and in the news as the MP’s make more and more counter statements. Rinse and repeat ad infinitum.

    A summer of that will use up his time and energy, and he’ll look like the little Dutch boy trying to stick many fingers into leaking dykes to try to stem the torrent of negativity. This is, for him and Brexit, a dangerous time

    If parliament does reconvene mid September, then that still leaves about 6 weeks before 31st October for the in fighting to restart and continue and as a week in Politics is a long time, then anything can happen.

    I’m not hopeful.

  9. Time for those deselections to be pushed in earnest. May’s blocking Grieve’s deselection is particularly grievous.

    That would take the Remoaners minds off things, especially if CCHQ was quite open about not intervening in deselection issues where the local party has decided that the MP is in breach of his own manifesto commitments.

    This is not about Boris versus the Conservatives Parliamentary Party, but rather about trying to prevent Remoaner agitators from undermining the democratic will of the electorate AND the Conservative Party.

    I doubt that the likes of Dominic Grieve will see it that way, but fuck them.

  10. I know what the “Brexit” Party was intended to do – push for the independence of the British people from the European Union, but I fear it may have the opposite effect.

    In the Peterborough byelection Labour (a pro European Union candidate) won, perhaps there was election fraud – but the pro independence vote splitting was more important.

    If the by election on Thursday (in Wales) goes to the Liberal Democrats it will be shouted as a great victory for the European Union cause – but the real reason will (again) be that the pro independence vote was split.

    Of course Conservatives also have a role in all this – Conservatives need to make sure that we put up candidates who have a good chance of winning, there are problems with some of the candidates we are putting up. As the cynical (but true) political saying has it “a candidate can not win an election – but a candidate can certainly LOSE an election” (via something they have said, or something they have done).

    But I will not discuss this matter in public at this time.

  11. Sadly I was right about the by election.

    Certainly it was a mistake to have a convicted fraudster (however unfair that is how the man was presented) as the Conservative candidate – but it was the “Brexit” Party that sunk the cause of Independence.

    To put it the approved London language – the “Brexit Party” sunk “Brexit”, the BBC, Sky and the rest of the leftist “Remainer” media are celebrating the victory of the European Union, of the servants of the international leftist elite the “Liberal Democrats” (who are neither liberals or democrats – as they hate liberty and despise democracy).

    The split in the pro independence vote was fatal.

    The people in the “Brexit” Party and the people who vote for it are vitally needed in the Conservative Party – although, sadly, it may already be too late for the independence of the United Kingdom.

    I understand the AIM of the “Brexit” Party – but when there was a change of leadership (of the Prime Minister) it should have backed it in the by election. The vote splitting has produced a victory for the European Union and for its servants – the BBC, Sky News and so on (including the evil people who make up the “Electoral Commission” and “Ofcom”).

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